Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Revelation Revealed, Part 9: Second Coming - Pastor Mike Taylor -
CHAPTER 19: THE SECOND COMING OF THE KING OF KINGS
"And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:
2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.
3 And again they said, Alleluia And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.
4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia." (Revelation 19:1-4)
The Tribulation and culminating with the Great Tribulation of the last 3.5 years, is quickly coming to a just end. God has been patient with mankind, and has sent numerous disciplinary measures to cause mankind to repent and give God glory and turn from their wicked ways. But as we have proceeded in these chapters, it has become evident and very clear that the nations are doomed to destruction and does not want to give up their unrighteous, sinful living.
As we enter the 19th Chapter of this book, we see the host of heaven giving glory and honor to our Great God and King of the Universe, as He has judged evil found in the harlot church and the great city of the Beast Power and their smoke will rise up forever. Here the 24 elders and the host of heaven, including those who have been slain at the hand of the Anti-Christ (who asked for justice from God from under the alter in Chapter 6:10 and here their prayers have been answered) praise God with "alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia" which is a phrase from Hebrew that means "Praise God". This is actually a culmination of chapter 18, as the Bible does not have chapter breaks, only man gives them chapter breaks, and here the praise of God is given for His coming complete Victory over the beast power system.
5 "And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." (Revelation 19:5-6)
As we read we see John back pedals a little to give a description of the Bride of Jesus Christ. This has already happened, but John wants to describe it in more detail, as the event about to happen is the marriage supper of the Lamb.
7 "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." (Revelation 19:7-9)
There is several things I want to point out here. Note that the wife of Jesus Christ has made herself ready. According to Jewish customs, as Jesus came as a Jew on earth, and the Bible was written by Jewish people. The custom is for the bride and groom to enter the bridal chambers for 7 days to consummate their union and relates to the last 7 years of the Tribulation. The Marriage supper will not be in heaven, but on earth and the invited guest will be those who have been found in Jesus Christ and accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord through much tribulation and martyrdom. They will be an untold amount of Jewish people by birth, but there will be an untold number of Gentiles also, that have accepted Jesus as well, but they are not the church, they are the guest that will be invited to the feast at the marriage supper. They are equated to the 5 wise virgins, and the 5 foolish virgins that many mistakenly make them part of the Church. Note the wise are invited into the marriage supper, as the Bride is already inside..She is not an invited guest, as she is the focus of the feast. (Matthew 25:1-13) The foolish virgins did not keep the Holy Spirit in their lives and lost out in the end and are denied entrance to the marriage supper.
But as I have done in past messages, I want you to focus on the underlines portion of the above scripture, as it will be important in the coming verses.
10 "And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean." (Revelation 19:10-14)
Note the description of our soon coming King? His eyes were as a flame of fire. Why are they like flames of fire? Why, first, to discern the secrets of all hearts. There are no secrets here that Christ does not see. There is no lewd thought, there is no unbelieving skepticism, that Christ does not read. There is no hypocrisy, no formalism, no deceit, that he does not scan as easily as a man reads a page in a book. His eyes are like a flame of fire to read us through and through, and know us to our inmost soul.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is clothed with vesture dipped in blood. This is not about the blood He shed on Calvary, but the blood that He has been spilling in the wine-press of His fury with those who have been in rebellion against Almighty God. He has many crowns on His head, signifying that He is the Supreme King of all creation, and the entire universe.
Jesus comes riding on a white horse, as a horse was a sign of glory and honor and only those who were in command rode on horses, not as foot soldiers. White denotes His purity.
There are several clues in the preceding verses of 10-14 of who is coming with the King of kings when He returns. First note in verse 10, that John falls to worship the elder who shows him these things. What does he say? He tells John that he is a fellow servant of God and "THY BRETHREN" that have the testimony of Jesus. Who can only this describe? These are those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and are standing with John even before Jesus second coming. A sign of the saints of God in heaven with God even as far back as chapter 4 of the Holy Book and the vision of the 24 elders. It is an elder of the church of God showing the apostle John this vision of future events. Another clue to who comes with Jesus. Note the apparel each wear ? Compare it with verse 8 of this same chapter that speaks of the Bride of Christ being "clothed with fine linen, white and clean, a sign of the saints". See the connection between the Bride and the saints that come back with Jesus Christ as the armies of heaven? These are not angels, these are redeemed mankind who have been with Jesus for the last 7 years and being judged for rewards at the Bema Judgment Seat of Christ (1st Corinthians 3: 11-15) and have been adopted into the family of God....as any bride who marries the Bridegroom becomes part of His family by law and by marriage in all its implications of inheritance.
16 "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8:16-17)
The Church cannot be heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus, unless we are adopted into the family of God, Yahweh, the Almighty ABBA Father....we are the redeemed of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. We are now part of the family of God. What Jesus has inherited, we also shall inherit the same. He is God, and we will be heirs in the God family. What we will inherit is beyond my comprehension, but just to be counted as adopted sons and daughters of the Most High is sufficient for this minister. We all will gladly submit to His righteous will.
I want to make a point at this portion of this series. If the church has NOT been taken 7 years prior and coming back with Jesus as His second coming, and the Post-Tribulation model that some believe is true, then who is going into the Millennium as mortals? Note that there are only two sets of people at the end of the Tribulation. Those who belong to Jesus Christ, and those who do not belong, but are in rebellion. When Jesus comes back, those who belong to Him are changed into immortal beings. Those who do not belong to Him are destroyed with a Word, not to mention all the plagues and disasters that have killed 90% of all mankind to this point. If those belonging to Him, are changed, and those who are not are destroyed, then who is the mortals that go into the Kingdom of God? See the problem? The answer is no one....The only model of God's plan for mankind is the Church was removed 7 years prior and those who are in rebellion are destroyed. Only those who survived that believed in Jesus and divinely protected at Petra are allowed to enter the Kingdom of God and repopulate the earth.
15 "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords." (Revelation 19:15-16)
Jesus will destroy all rebellion with a word of annihilation. It will be a short battle and complete victory is assured for the King of Kings coming back as a roaring lion full of wrath and judgment. The redeemed Church will watch in awe at the display of His power.
This is the culmination of that wrath of God upon all those who dare come against Him in rebellion. He has given them 7 years to come to repentance, and Divine discipline has not changed any of these invaders minds that have come to the Valley of Jezreel to destroy Israel. The nation of Israel has come to the realization that Jesus was their Messiah that their fathers had crucified nigh 2000 years ago and as Jesus told them they would cry out to God for deliverance and proclaimed:
38 "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." (Matthew 23:38-39)
King Jesus has heard their cries and now comes to fight for them,
2 "For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3 Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle." (Zechariah 14:2-3)
I can only envision the complete destruction that slays every man standing to where the blood rises to the level of a horse's bridle spoken of back in Chapter 14 of this Holy Book:
20 "And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs." (Revelation 14:20)
The valley of Jezreel is estimated to be 184 miles long and 5 miles wide...and the bible speaks of what befalls a man who has the misfortune to think they can come against a Living God. It gives you a mental picture of how many will be destroyed to produce that much blood.
Trying to understand this, have they come to battle each other, or come to destroy Israel, and turn their weapons of war on what they see coming from the heavens? Will they realize too late, that their fate is sealed, as they have come to fight a Living God? Surely, it will be complete madness on the part of rebellious mankind. It's good for us to remember that this dramatic display of judgment comes only at the end of a long time of grace, patience, and mercy. This is no "rush to judgment." Jesus has amply displayed His nature of mercy, forgiveness and grace to this fallen world. He comes now to judge a world hardened and totally given over to their rebellion against Him.
"And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth." (Zechariah 14:12)
In verse 16, He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The name is on His thigh for prominence, being easily visible when seated on a horse. At the same time, no one knew [the name] except Himself- that is, no one can comprehend Him perfectly.
Adam Clarke is among those who believe that the name written that no one knew except Himself is actually the tetragrammaton, the four letters YHWH that make up the name "Yahweh", the sacred and secret name of God as no one knows what letters of vowels should be put with these letters that stand for God Almighty.
17 "And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh." (Revelation 19:17-21)
So the end of this great army who God has gathered together in this valley for their final judgment, and are food for the beast of the fields, and the birds of the air, as an angel calls out to them to scavenge on the remains of the carcasses that have fallen and bled out. The end of the Anti-Christ and the false prophet are spoken of, as they are thrown alive into the Lake of Fire burning with brimstone and sulfur. I've often wondered why they were not given a final judgment at the Great White Throne that is coming up in the next chapters, but here they are thrown without this judgment, as they have been judged already? Why? Are they even human anymore? Have their sins and their demonic possession judged them already? The end of these two leaders of the rebellion against God and their idolatry and abominations are swiftly judged and their destruction is assured, as they are sent to a place of torment forever even ahead of those whose judgment is coming. Such is their complete demonic rebellion. Some believe that the two "men" are part of the Nephillim that come back upon this earth in the final days, and are not entirely human, but hybrids of fallen angels. We are not sure, and are not told. I leave it to God in His righteous judgment.
Chapter 20: THE REIGN OF JESUS CHRIST
"And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season." (Revelation 20:1-3)
A powerful unnamed angel comes down with a heavy chain and binds Satan hand and foot and cast him away from the influence of mankind for a 1000 years, but Satan will get a chance to tempt mankind one last time at the end of this reign of our Lord and Savior. It is a great question of why God would allow Satan another chance, but God has a purpose for his release, which will be revealed later in this chapter.
4 "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." (Revelation 20:4-6)
Here we see thrones again, as it was in chapter 4 and 24 elders sitting at rest with their victory over this world being assured. I believe they are divided in duty, as Jesus said that his apostles would judge Israel.
" And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Matthew 19:28)
God apostles which I believe includes Paul the apostle to the Gentiles, as Paul was chosen by Jesus as the replacement for Judas. The other 11 apostles chose Matthias, but Jesus revealed His glory to the man that reached much of the Gentile world. The Church Saints are given the same authority to judge as Paul spoke of this that we would judge angels, and I believe that includes those who have overcome the beast power noted in verse 4 and they are given eternal life to reign with Jesus Christ for a 1000 years. In what capacity will they reign, we do not know..We know that the Church of the Living God will be Kings and Priest to God to direct those who are born during this Millennial reign to the salvation found only in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ 2000-3000 years ago if you count the whole Millennium. These are all part of the first resurrection. It started with Jesus as being First Born of the dead and will extend to all those who are raised to life before the Millennium starts.
Some point to this as a a sign of the resurrection of all saints after the tribulation, but failed to understand that this first resurrection has been going on for 2000 plus years and ends here. Those who await their resurrection at the second resurrection wait for judgment and separation from God, not rewards as the Church received. As verse 6 testifies, blessed is he who is part of the 1st Resurrection, as the second death, unlike those awaiting being raised after the reign of Christ, will have no power over them. But notice an overlooked part of that verse "but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." We were told that those who go through the Tribulation many will be Jewish by birth, many Gentiles, but Jewish in the majority, but not exclusively...what did God say about them? Remember back in chapter 7 of those who do not worship the beast?
13" And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat." (Revelation 7:13-16)
These are Tribulation saints and they have not the same rewards as the Church receives. We reign with Christ as Kings and priest. These serve Almighty God in His temple, much as the Levitical Priesthood did...and they re-enact Temple animal sacrifices to demonstrate to those born during the Millennium what Jesus did. Jesus can't die again, but the Temple is used to do as it was in Ancient Israel to point to the Savior. ( Ezekiel chp. 40 to the end of that book) Many will come to salvation, but not all, as we will soon find out.
7 "And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them."( Revelation 20:7-9)
For the thousand years of the direct reign of Jesus over this earth, Satan was bound and inactive. But after the thousand years are over, he will be released and successfully organize many people of the earth in another rebellion against God.
Envision this, and it's something I cannot understand at this point, as these people born during the reign of Jesus Christ have had perfect weather, perfect peace, no needs for anything, and have known the Living God found in the King of Kings on earth for the last 1000 years being ruled in righteousness for all the years of their lives. Some of these folks may live the whole 1000 year reign of those born right after the Millennium starts, as it was at the beginning when people, after Adam and Eve, lived over 900 years and now are somehow tempted by Satan to rebel against God on earth?
If Jesus has reigned so wonderfully for a thousand years, then why will the earth rebel? They will do it, and God will allow it, as a final demonstration of man's rebellion and depravity. Outward conformity to Jesus' rule will be required during His reign, but seemingly, an inward embrace of His Lordship will still be up to the individual. But just as Israel rebelled against God being with them in the wilderness and countless miracles witnessed, they did much as these people do. They let their own desire to rule themselves and not be subject to anyone telling them what to do. It is man's nature to sin against God. How does Satan convince this people to come against the City of God, the very Throne of God in Jerusalem? Just as he did Eve and Adam, the pride of life and love of this world. Up to this point, they have been directed by Kings and priest to God to not veer to the left or to the right, but staying on the narrow path to follow Jesus and accept Him as the Lord of their life and following the ways of God. We will be witnesses of the grace and mercy of God and will teach all who are mortal and born during this time.
In this we see more of the important reason God has for the Millennial Kingdom and allowing this final rebellion. For all of human history, man has wanted to blame his sinful condition on his environment. "Of course I turned out the way I did. Did you see the family I came from? Did you see the neighborhood I grew up in?" With the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus, God will give mankind a thousand years of a perfect environment - with no Satan, no crime, no violence, no evil, or other social pathology. But at the end of the 1,000 years, man will still rebel against God at his first opportunity. This will powerfully demonstrate that the problem is in us, not only in our environment. Mortal man cannot be trusted.
It will be proved once more that man, whatever his advantages and environment, apart from the grace of God and new birth, remains at heart only evil and at enmity with God.
God gathers all those who will not accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and will gather them much as it was in Ezekiel 38-39 before the Tribulation, and brings judgment on them as fire comes down from heaven and destroys them all.
After the annihilation of every mortal man who dares rebel against God on earth, Satan is again grabbed by the nape of the neck and is finally receiving his just reward for the previous ages of deception and being the father of all lies, and is cast alive into the lake of fire to join the Anti-Christ and the false prophet even before others are sentenced to that awful place.
10" And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." (Revelation 20:10)
THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT
11 "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
This is the final judgment of all unsaved mankind. They are gathered from the ends of the earth, from the sea and wherever their life was extinguished and they are judged out the Books which is the Bible, and the Book of life with the names of those who have been found clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Of course, none of these people will be found in the Book of life and they will be judged out of the only words that will condemn them, your Bible and the inspired Words and testimony of Almighty God. Many ask, how can a spirit burn or be tormented? Or a body not burn up. At this junction of the end of time, my belief is, as we received immortal bodies at the coming of our Lord in the Rapture, these people receive the same immortal body that lives forever, but theirs is not a reward, but everlasting punishment, so they will never die, and never be consumed but tormented and separated from God the Father and the Son and devoid of all happiness, joy, love and any hope of escape. What an awful destiny for any human being to end up in a place called the "Lake of Fire"..
REBUTTAL OF A DEMONIC THEOLOGY
I want to make one thing perfectly clear. There is an insidious "theory" using only one verse above in verse 12, that there is a "second chance" noting the words, "and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books" but they claim sentencing will not be carried out at that time. They will be allowed an undetermined amount of time to come to repentance and accept Jesus as Savior. Let me ask you something. If you had a choice standing before Almighty God, would you not believe and save yourself from the Lake of Fire? Only a fool or totally insane would say "I'd rather party in hell"...as it won't be a party by any stretch. No, everyone given that choice would say yes to Jesus, but it would not be out of remorse or love for Jesus to repentance, but out of fear of the 2nd death. This is called by some "Universal Reconciliation", that all will be saved, even Hitler, Stalin, and Lenin who killed millions upon millions of people without remorse. No, don't make that mistake that some cults try to sell you, that all will be saved. If that was so, then there would be no need for a hell, or the Lake of Fire. It would fly in the face of what was written in Revelation 14:9-11 that the smoke of those who worship the beast their torment will arise before the holy angels and the Lamb forever and ever.
26 "For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." (Hebrews 9:26-28)
Understand, my reader, there is NO second chance. This life is the only chance you have to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life. The Church is being refined now, as we speak. And if we barely make it through Christ, where will the ungodly stand at that day?
"For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God?
18And, "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" (1st Peter 4:17-18)
OUR NEW ETERNAL HOME IS REVEALED
Next time will be looking at the new heavens and the new earth, and New Jerusalem coming down from God the Father. If you have read it, the description is beyond your mind's ability to visualize the splendor and the glory that will be the reward of all those who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. It is the glorious end of our existence as mortals and becoming immortal before God and living for all eternity.
A DECISION REQUIRED
My question to you as is my custom at the end of any sermon I write, is where will you be in this spiritual drama that has been finished here at the Great White Throne judgment by Jesus Christ?
Now you have a choice to make before this drama starts to play out, and it could come as a "thief in the night" when you least expect it. Jesus could come at any moment, but when He does, your survival is in danger in the next 7 years following. Best to make that decision for Jesus Christ, while the invitation to join the Church of the Living God is open and your glorification is assured.
16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18)
God's gift is but a moment away from all who believe and obtain "Victory in Jesus "...
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." (Romans 10:8-11)
This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying you make that decision for Jesus Christ today while the Holy Spirit invitation is still open. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com for more biblical lessons from the Word of God...God bless you all
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET.
God's Plan In A Nutshell - Jack Kelley -
You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were blameless in your ways until wickedness was found in you (Ezekiel 28:12,15).
There is nothing in the Bible to tell us when the angelic realm was created. However, Job 38:4-7 speaks of the angels shouting for joy when God laid the Earth's foundation, so they had to have been created before Earth existed. Neither is there a mention of the timing of Satan's rebellion. All we know for sure is it had to have preceded Genesis 3, when the serpent convinced Eve to disobey God. Satan was already God's adversary by then, although there's no mention of his rebellion in connection with the creation. For this reason, I've concluded it also happened before the creation story begins.
Here's How It All Began
The wickedness in the one we call Satan was no surprise to God. He knows the end from the beginning after all. And like all the angels, Satan had been created with the power of choice, which gave him the potential for evil.
Since God knew Satan would rebel, many have wondered why He let it happen? Others have asked, "Why didn't God just destroy Satan at the time? Why let him cause all this trouble?"
The Bible doesn't answer those questions directly, but maybe after reading this you'll conclude, as I have, that if God had not allowed things to unfold as they did, you and I might never have come to be, and would not be able to look forward to an eternity that surpasses all human understanding.
We have no way of knowing how long it took for Satan's wickedness to reveal itself, but through Ezekiel we learn that it was his pride in his beauty and splendor that triggered its appearance (Ezekiel 28:17).
His pride apparently caused him to believe that exalted as it was, his assigned place in the order of creation was inadequate for someone of his talent and potential. Since no created being was higher, he determined to make himself like the Most High God (Isaiah 14:13-14).
As I said, this introduction of a second will into the universe was no surprise to God, but He couldn't let it stand. Knowing that one third of the angelic population had cast their lot with Satan, He moved to put down this revolt and pronounced judgment on Satan and those who had joined him.
Some have speculated that in response Satan accused God of being unjust and having no love. I believe this speculation has merit based on what God did next. Remember, the following was not God's reaction to Satan's accusation, but His rebuttal to an accusation He already knew Satan would hurl at Him.
First, He created man, a being vastly inferior to the angels but having intellect, the power of choice (free will), and eternal life just like they do.
To demonstrate His justice, He established a set of Laws with which to govern man's life. These laws reflected His own standards of righteousness. He declared that all men would be judged according to these laws and those who kept them faithfully would inherit eternal life with Him. However, even one violation would condemn the offender to an eternity of punishment. There would be no exceptions, and no appeal. From the highest to the lowest, all of mankind would be equally subject to these laws and would reap the reward or punishment due him or her according to its provisions.
Of course, God knew that mankind would not be able to meet the requirements of His Law and left to their own devices everyone would be found guilty and condemned to death. But the Law defined His righteousness, and to live in His presence man's righteousness had to equal it. Also, in order to be just, the Law could tolerate no deviation from its standards. Every violation had to incur the death penalty.
God didn't want all of mankind to be lost, but unless He lowered His standards, something His righteousness would not permit, He couldn't change His Law. His solution to this seemingly unsolvable problem was to pay the penalty Himself for all of mankind's violations. He would come to Earth in the form of His Son and die for the sins of the world. His death would pay for all of man's violations of His Law (John 1:29, John 3:16).
Just like the penalty for violating the Law would be the same for everyone, so would the remedy. Anyone, from the highest to the lowest, who accepted the Son's death as payment in full for his or her sins would be granted a full pardon and a place in eternity with Him. It would impute to them a righteousness equal to His own (Romans 3:21-24). Because He had created man with the power of choice, He wouldn't impose His solution on anyone, but would grant it without exception to everyone who asked to receive it (Matt. 7:7-8).
These two actions, implementing a Law no one could keep, and offering a pardon no one could earn, were God's rebuttal to Satan's accusations. It combined perfect justice with perfect love. Man was free to choose either alternative. He could strive to live up to God's impossibly high standards and earn His way into eternity through his own works or he could accept the Son of God's death on his behalf and be granted eternal life by faith.
After creating man, God implemented the Law portion of His plan to provide an example for all of humanity to study. His purpose was two-fold. He wanted mankind to see the blessings that came from the level of obedience we are capable of, but He also wanted us to learn that the level of obedience His Law required for our salvation was unobtainable (Romans 3:20). These two points were quickly proven when the first two humans broke His Law soon after being placed in the most blessed environment humanity has ever enjoyed.
This was also no surprise to God. To prevent mankind from becoming obsolete before we got started, He initiated a sacrificial system to teach mankind that we would ultimately be saved through the shedding of His innocent blood. In the mean time, the shed blood of certain innocent animals would set their sins aside temporarily.
Protecting them from destroying themselves through their own sinfulness was no small task. It took the most elaborate religious system ever devised and the sacrificial deaths of untold numbers of innocent animals. He chose one people, the descendants of Abraham, to be the principal participants in this religious system, blessing them enormously when they obeyed and punishing them without mercy when they didn't, all as an example from which the rest of the world could learn about His nature (Romans 15:4).
When the time finally came for God to send His Son to die for our sins, He made His one sacrifice sufficient for all time (Hebrews 10:12-14). Those who died in faith before He came would receive eternal life along with those who died in faith afterward. The Son's one righteous life was of sufficient value to save all of mankind's unrighteous ones, from the first one to the last (1 Peter 3:18).
God determined that His plan would have a fixed expiration, after which He would bring it to a conclusion. At that time all of mankind will stand before Him. If they have died He will bring them back to life, never to die again. Everyone will be shown the point in his or her life when the two choices available were made clear to them. Remember, part of God's plan is to demonstrate that He's a just God (Deut. 32:4). Therefore He can neither reward nor punish anyone who didn't get an opportunity to choose. The one exception involves those children whose lives came to an end before they had become intellectually mature enough to understand their choices. A just God cannot punish those who are unable to comprehend, so He declared all such children innocent and counted them as His own (Romans 7:9).
Those who have accepted by faith the pardon He purchased for them will be granted an eternity of unparalleled blessing. Those who have chosen to earn their place in eternity through their own works will be shown their shortcomings and condemned to eternal punishment (Rev. 20:15). Since these are the only two choices available to mankind, those who will have opted out altogether will receive the same destiny as if they had refused the pardon God made available. Receiving the pardon requires a conscious choice to accept it (Romans 10:13). Refusing to choose at all is equivalent to rejecting it.
At that time Satan will receive his final judgment and will be condemned to eternal punishment along with all those who had refused to accept the pardon (Rev. 20:10).
It's sad to think that many who chose to earn their own way or refused to choose at all will have thought they were preserving their independence, exercising their freedom of choice. When it's too late to change their minds they will finally realize that they were actually following Satan's will, not their own. Remember, there have only ever been two wills in the universe, God's and Satan's. If we don't choose God's will for us, we've chosen Satan's will by default. In the spiritual sense, free will is simply the option of choosing between God's will and Satan's. God wants us all to choose His will (2 Peter 3:9), but He won't force us to do it.
I believe this is the secret of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, from which God commanded Adam not to eat (Genesis 2:16-17). As I've said, there was only one will on Earth at that time, and that was God's will, which was "Good." Eating the fruit of the forbidden tree introduced a second will, which was "Evil." This was Satan's will. By getting Adam and Eve to disobey God's will, Satan was getting them to obey his will. In doing so, they acquired the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Somehow this altered their genetic make-up in such a way that this knowledge was passed to all their progeny. Today we call this the "flesh" or the "sin nature." But I think it's really the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the realization that there are two wills in the universe. We can choose which one to follow, but if we don't consciously choose God's will, Satan's will becomes the default choice.
1 Cor. 15:24-28 tells us that the Lord Jesus will reign until He has put all of God's enemies under His feet, including death.
Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all rule, authority and power (1 Cor. 15:24).
Before the Lord turns the kingdom over to His Father, He will destroy all rule, authority and power. The primary meaning of the Greek word for destroy is "to put down, deactivate or render inoperative." The one for rule is "the origin, or active cause." The one for authority is "the power of choice, the liberty of doing as one pleases" and the one for power includes "strength" or "ability."
This means in eternity we who have accepted the pardon He purchased for us will no longer have the ability to disobey God's will. The origin and active cause of our disobedience will have been rendered inoperative. The disastrous effects of Adam and Eve's disobedience will have been reversed. The Knowledge of Good and Evil will be no more and there will finally be only one will in all of creation
Nearing Midnight: Corporate Giants Have Too Much Power - Todd Strandberg -
There has never been a time when so few companies controlled such a large portion of the US economy. Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have a market capitalization of nearly $4 trillion. Apple is set to become the first company in history to reach the $1 trillion milestone.
As these firms get bigger and bigger, they are rewarded with a huge valuation for monopolizing various markets. Google drives 89% of internet search; 95% of young adults on the internet use a Facebook product; and Amazon now accounts for 75% of electronic book sales. Those firms that aren't monopolists are duopolists: Google and Facebook absorbed 63% of online ad spending last year; Google and Apple Inc. provide 99% of mobile phone operating systems; while Apple and Microsoft supply 95% of desktop operating systems.
I remember early interviews with Amazon's Jeff Bezos. He was always laughing and telling reporters how his company was going to revolutionize the shopping experience. Today, Bezos has become the world's richest man, and his company has expanded into dozens of retail categories. Amazon makes very little money because its main goal is to grab market share from other smaller companies. Amazon has 75 massive fulfillment centers around the country, which makes it nearly impossible for a new company to enter the field.
In the early stage of a monopoly, the consumer generally wins with cheaper prices for products. Back in the early 1900's, Standard Oil controlled 87% of the oil market. Over a 30-year period, the price of oil used in lamps dropped in half. When the federal government sued to break up Standard Oil, the Supreme Court acknowledged the benefits generated by the company. The forced split of Standard Oil was ordered because of clear evidence of a single-minded determination to drive others out of the market.
A research paper by Mike Scherer, a retired Harvard economist, found that Standard Oil was a prolific generator of patents in its early years, but that slowed once it achieved dominance. Around 1909 Standard's Indiana unit invented "thermal cracking" to improve gasoline refining to meet demand from automobiles, but the company's head office thought the technology too dangerous because it involved heating heavier oils into a vapor. After the Indiana unit was spun off in the 1911 breakup, it commercialized the technology to enormous success.
In the 1990's, the Department of Justice filed antitrust charges against Microsoft. One way that Windows got loaded onto most of the world's computers is that Bill Gates made arm-twisting deals with computer makers. He had contracts that required companies to pay Microsoft based on every computer they built. In special cases where a firm used a different operating system, they would still have to pay for a Windows license. It was because of a fat and happy attitude that caused Microsoft to lose its way in the internet search and smartphone market.
I think the greatest danger from these oversized companies is the politics they promote. Every one of these firms is run by people who support the Democratic Party. They use their power to promote the leftist cause. Twitter has 100% monopoly in the tweet market. For years, it's been accused of having an institutional bias against conservatives. Twitter would shadow-ban accounts by blocking the public from seeing posts. Scott Adams, creator of "Dilbert," said Twitter was restricting his traffic over his outspoken Trump support.
I sometimes go to President Trump's twitter page and noticed that Twitter's "Who to Follow" recommendations at the top of the third column is always showing Hillary Clinton, CNN, and Barack Obama. On Hillary Clinton's twitter page, the top recommendations are Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, and Chelsea Clinton. The President's name is nowhere to be found.
I spoke with several congressional aides about this bias against people on the right, and they always say we can't do anything because they are a private company. If Twitter and Facebook said we will only have White people as members, a dozen federal agencies would be on their case. The same rules that protect racial and sexual groups from discrimination need to be expanded to conservatives.
More and more people are calling for antitrust action against these corporate giants, but I don't think anything major will happen. Bible prophecy warns that the last days will resemble an Orwellian police state. I believe we are very close to the tribulation hour, so I think our only hope for deliverance from persecution is the rapture.
"... you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved" (Matthew 24:9-13).
Which Nation Will Be the Last To Oppress The Jews, and Which Will Make it to The End Of Days? - By Dr. Rivkah Lambert Adler - https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/101515/nation-will-last-oppress-jews-will-make-end-days/#kUo786OELHYFOw5W.99
"Four mighty beasts different from each other emerged from the sea." Daniel 7:3 (The Israel Bible™)
The Jewish people have been exiled many times by "mighty beasts" from the Land of Israel. The traditional rabbinic understanding of four of these "beasts" mentioned in chapter 7 of the Book of Daniel, is that they represent four primary periods of exile that were predicted in the Bible.
The four main exiles of the Jewish people are identified as Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome.
There is a second, more esoteric rabbinic commentary which teaches that Genesis 1:2 also hints to the four primary exiles of the Jewish people.
The earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from Hashem sweeping over the water- (Genesis 1:2)
In this teaching, "unformed" refers to Babylon, "void" refers to Persia, "darkness" refers to Greece and "over the surface of the deep" refers to the final exile, which most rabbis agree is the Roman exile, under which the Jewish people are still suffering.
But there is another exile in the news today. Commonly called The Ishmaelite Exile, it refers to the terrorism that the Jewish people are subject to at the hands of the Muslim world.
Last Thursday evening, Rabbi Daniel Glatstein of Cedarhurst, NY delivered a lecture in Jerusalem entitled The Rise of Yishmael At The End Of Days And The Coming Of Moshiach.
Rabbi Glatstein spoke in detail about the various prophecies that relate to the number of exiles the Jewish people will endure before the End of Days.
Although there are four basic exiles that have been predicted, there is an opinion based on a verse from the Book of Psalms that there are actually eight.
For the leader; with instrumental music on the sheminith. A psalm of David. (Psalms 6:1)
The hint to eight exiles is hidden in the word sheminith, which is related to the Hebrew word for eight.
According to this opinion, the last two of the eight kingdoms to oppress the Jewish people are Yishmael and Edom, which will co-exist at the End of Days.
"At the end of days, there will be two powers remaining... Western civilization and the Arab world," Rabbi Glatstein asserted. He explained that in today's terms, Yishmael is a reference to the Arab world and Edom is a reference to the United States.
Rabbi Glatstein asked, "which nation will prevail? Who will be the last nation standing?" In his view, "we don't have a definitive answer."
After citing multiple rabbinic opinions holding that America will survive with the Nation of Israel at the End of Days and another set of rabbinic opinions emphasizing that the Arab world will survive with the Nation of Israel at the End of Days, Rabbi Glatstein mentions the Jewish tradition of there being two redeemers.
According to Rabbi Glatstein, Messiah son of Joseph will redeem the Jewish people from the exile of Edom, which is the United States. And Messiah son of David will redeem the Jewish people from the exile of Yishmael, which is the Arab world.
This is why the world needs two Messianic figures, explained Rabbi Glatstein. They have different jobs to do.
Rabbi Glatstein finished his remarks with a teaching from the 18th century rabbinic and mystical genius known as the Vilna Gaon. The Vilna Gaon predicted that ultimately, Yishmael will defeat Edom.
On what basis did the Vilna Gaon make his prediction that the Arab world will ultimately defeat the United States? He derives this conclusion from the well-known Jewish principle that the Messiah son of Joseph will precede the Messiah son of David.
After laying out all the evidence for both sides of the argument, Rabbi Glatstein concluded that the last nation standing at the End of Days alongside the Jewish people will be the Arab world.
Daily Jot: Crisis at the doorstep - Bill Wilson -
Each day new information surfaces that there was a conspiracy deep into the federal government to keep the globalist cabal in power by undermining the Trump Administration and actually effecting a coup. Now there is more information that there was a secret society at the FBI holding secret meetings in an apparent attempt to undermine and overthrow President Donald Trump. This is particularly important to note that the same actors involved were those who exonerated Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton days before the election, and the current special counsel investigating Trump is a George W Bush-appointed, and ex "president"-kept, former head of the FBI, Robert Mueller.
On Tuesday's FOX News Special Report with Bret Baier, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) said that Congressional investigators have an informant who confirmed the secret society exists at the FBI and that its members secretly met after the election to plot against Trump. Johnson said that Congress didn't have all the answers and investigators would continue to dig for information. He said, however, "Robert Mueller used to run the FBI. He is in no position to do an investigation over this kind of misconduct... When you see this kind of bias and corruption in the FBI you have to ask the question, are there similar individuals highly biased -- political operatives burrowed into the Department of Justice as well. Does Attorney General Sessions really have a department he can rely on and trust as well?"
Let's take an inventory. Immediately following the election, Clinton refused to accept the results. The outgoing "president" encouraged mayhem, funded "resistance" organizations, and established former supporters and advisors over key government positions. Some who left the previous Administration, like Rosa Brooks, former Pentagon advisor, called for a military coup from her new position at the George Soros-funded New America Foundation. Now we find that high ranking lackeys of the ex "president" and the Clinton governmental organized crime syndicate, were plotting to undermine a duly elected President. Couple this with media complicity on impeachment and other fronts, and we have the makings of a coup.
While the media will not admit it, and pasty-faced Congressmen are too cautious to say it, we are watching this very sophisticated coup take place before our eyes. We have to suspend our disbelief to recognize it, but all the components are there. Attempt after attempt to disrupt this Presidency with accusations, investigations, stonewalling, and opposition at every juncture-led by Democrats, supported by globalist Republicans, and aided and abetted by a very hostile and Marxist "free press." As Romans 13:12 says, "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light." As Christian Americans, we must pray for and very vocally support these brave men and women who are exposing the usurpers and revolutionaries. Truth and Justice are on the line.
Daily Devotion: The Divine Paradox - By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
"For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." -Luke 14:11
If we have learned nothing else from our culture telling us what we should do to be happy, we have learned this: It is just not true. We have realized where happiness isn't.
Prior to becoming a Christian, I already knew the answer was not in the world. I knew it wasn't in my mother's world of hedonism and drinking and partying. I knew it wasn't in my world, limited as it was at seventeen years old. So I was wondering where it was. And then I became a Christian.
We have a different paradigm to follow, given to us by God in His Word. We could call it the divine paradox, because in God's economy, if we want to be great, we must learn to be humble. If we want self-fulfillment, we should seek the fulfillment of others.
Regarding this divine paradox, Malcolm Muggeridge pointed out, "Where, then, does happiness lie? In forgetfulness, not indulgence, of self. In escape from sensual appetites, not in their satisfaction."
The way to happiness is sadness. By that I mean we are sad over our sinful state, so we turn to God, ask for His forgiveness, and enter into a relationship with Him. Jesus gave us the beautiful beatitude, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4). Another way to translate this would be, "Oh how happy are the unhappy." There is no greater example of this upside down life than Jesus Christ Himself.
We want to find our happiness and our joy in the right place, or more specifically, in the right person, which is God. As we come to know and walk with Him, we will find something better than happiness, and that is joy. We will find joy in our circumstances, regardless of what they are.
FROM THE HEART
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